Thursday, February 28, 2013

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - Neil: Hole In My Shoe (1984)

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Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
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Nigel George Planer (born 22 February 1953 in Westminster, London) is an English actor, comedian, novelist and playwright. Planer is perhaps best known for his role as Neil Pye in the cult BBC comedy 'The Young Ones'. He has appeared in many West End musicals, including Evita, Chicago, We Will Rock You, Wicked and Hairspray. He is also long time comedy partner with Peter Richardson.

Nigel was one of the four members of the 1980s spoof rock band, Bad News, playing Den Dennis. As Neil from 'The Young Ones', Planer gained a number two hit single in 1984 in the form of "Hole in My Shoe". The song was originally a hit single for Sixties band Traffic, reaching #2 in the UK charts and #22 in the German charts in 1967.Composed by guitarist Dave Mason, the song was disliked by the other three members of the group, who felt that it did not represent the band's musical or lyrical style.

A cover of Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle" was a less successful follow up, only reaching #97 in the charts. After that, an album was produced, entitled 'Neil's Heavy Concept Album'. Nigel also took Neil's stage act on the road in that year as Neil in the "Bad Karma in The UK" tour. 

In the sitcom 'The Young Ones', Neil was one of the principal characters portraying a long-suffering hippie, who continually sang a recognisable line from "Hole In My Shoe". He also performed the song as Neil on the BBC show 'Top of the Pops', where he asked Paul Weller to "listen to the lyrics!". The single won "Best Comedy Single" at the 1985 Brit Awards during the days the event was called "The BPI Awards". The press saw the one-off award category as completely invented by the panel just for the single.
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I have chosen to include two versions of this song here, the first is the standard single release (backed by the even weirder track "Hurdy Gurdy Mushroom Man") and a longer version called the  Paranoid Version released as a 12" Single. The longer version contains addition minutes of Neil bantering on in his usual monotonic voice while being backed by orchestral music sounding very similar to that of the Beatles's Sgt Peppers.
As a bonus, I have also included a Flash video of Neil performing his hit song on the ABC's 'Top Of The Pops'.
So this months WOCK on Vinyl post ticks most of the boxes associated with its name: Weird, Crazy and Korny with a little bit of psychedelia thrown in for good measure!
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Track Listing
01 - Hole In My Shoe (Single Version)
02 - Hurdy Gurdy Mushroom Man
03 - Hole In My Shoe (Paranoid Version)
*   Plus Hole In My Shoe (Flash Video - Top Of The Pops)
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Neil's Link (43Mb)
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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Little Heroes - Watch The World (1983)

(Australian 1980-1984)
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In amongst all the turbulence of line-up changes, The Little Heroes said bon voyage to Australia for a period during mid 1983, during which they recorded their third album ‘Watch The World’ at Farmyard Studios in the U.K., under the production supervision of Rupert Hine. The album surfaced in September ‘83, and went on to crack the top 50 in Australia. The title track single only rose to #73, but its follow up ‘Bon Voyage’ performed better (#51), though not to the level on the charts that would do justice to such a great song.
It was perhaps the commercial disappointment of ‘Watching The World’ that contributed to The Little Heroes calling it a day in June 1984. It’s a pity really because The Little Heroes seemed to be a band that were just hitting stride, as exemplified on ‘Bon Voyage’ and another great song from the same album called ‘Modern Times’. Whatever the reasons for The Little Heroes not reaching their absolute potential, they nonetheless left us with a fine body of work to savour.

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A Perth Newspaper reported on Little Heroes on 8th March, 1984. The following is a transcript from this article:
Heroes Return
Little Heroes 'Watch The World' set the standards for Australian albums last year through its fine production and engineering.
The band suddenly found itself being watched by the world as the heroes became more than your average Oz pub band.

Back in Perth this week for a series of dates, Little Heroes founder (and until now chief songwriter) Roger Hart looks back on 1983 as the bands most satisfying year.
"It was the year we solidified", he said on the phone from Melbourne this week. "Whereas in the past I would have only given the band a life of two years at any given time, it now has an unlimited potential".
The cause of this burst of optimism is the lads' belief that the finally-settled Heroes line-up offers a social consistency and musical individuality that's hard to beat.
Hart says all five members have very individual and different playing styles and songs are now developing through different styles rather than the head of one person.
The big change to the next album, which will be cut after a six month break the band intend to take a couple of weeks, will be in the songwriting.
"Songs will be written by everyone in the band for the first time," says Roger. "Before, I've written everything and to be honest, the job got boring.
"There is no competition. They just went along with what I was doing. This way its going to be much more stimulating. We intend to have about 30 songs from which to pick when we cut the album.
"And the sound will be sparser as well. In retrospect one of the faults with Watch The World is there was too much going on musically".
So watch Little Heroes, their next step is the world. Find out why by catching them around town this week [article by Mike Gee, sourced from Little Heroes Facebook Page]

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Unfortunately, this fourth album never saw the light of day, as the band disbanded within 3 months of this article been written, when Roger Hart chose to leave in June, 1984.
One can only wonder what this album would have sounded like, given their plans to change direction in their song writing. The following album reviews for 'Watch The World' were sourced from three different newspapers / magazines (thanks to Little Heroes Facebook Page) and provide a wide range of viewpoints about this album.
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'Goodbye To All That' Review 1
The third album, although since lineup has drastically changed once again, one can hardly compare.
Nevertheless, main man Roger Hart seems to have got the best team and the best result this time (and recording in England with Rupert Hines hasn't done any harm either).
Music is more developed, less strict pop song forms, the prevailing mood is sombre, a bit cold even.
Still a band in search of gigantic hit and I can't hear it here. Perhaps if this lineup survives to make a second album, something more vital will have been forged [Artice by Greg Taylor]
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Review 2
The Little Heroes 1982 album 'Play By Numbers' was a spotty offering sprinkled with gracious, heartfelt pop songs. Stained by the blood of a sentimental or street toughened heart, the fiery impact of these tracks was all too often doused-down by monochromatic tunes included for the sake of being modern rather than moving.

'Watch The World' is an album of greater substance  and less obvious commercial intent. It's not that the accessibility is missing. It's just that it is more strategically placed. The stuff borne of a band actively maturing and of a wild-hearted, clever minded producer like Rupert Hine.
On the title track, a suspicious choice for single release, the classy synthesizer works like a fuel-injection system, only spurting out its energy when necessary. Roger Hart's nasal, theatrical voice, arguably more suited to picturesque ballads, does a fine job bleeding the ordinary, hard nosed chorus. And, somehow, despite the lack of flair of this track, it becomes five minutes of lyrically-superior rock and roll. Yet it is far from The World's main beauty spot.
That honour goes to the chorus-dominated squelching guitar play "Modern Times". It's not hard to imagine this stern rhythm working well in the ash-filled pub corridors. It's got the energy, it's got the message and it's for the melody to make sure it reaches the right destination.
 

Even Hart's usually controlled, intellectual vocals prefer to make the path of the roads' scholar rather than the Rhodes Scholar. Ditto for the dynamic, complex "Beating Drums", another track that reveals the band's love of a big production chorus and hectic percussion  division.
One sad aspect of Watch The World is that the magic mix of lovely, terminal nostalgia and peachy, timeless memories, so ideally sketched on "One perfect Day" is not quite replicated here. "Bon Voyage" tries in vain to emulate that classic tune. It is a love story read from the lips of a tourist that's filled with unrepentantly lazy guitars, scratching about behind Hart's dynamic enunciation's.
"Memories", also pursues rockstalgia. But alas, the heavy drum beat fuzzes out the hypnotic processes of the rhythm section, leaving the track to languish in no-personland.


Live At Billboard Club, Melbourne. 1983
If Rupert Hine has ensured that Little Heroes is more intent these days to twisting the mind rather than twisting by the pool, he occasionally gives them reign to blissfully bop. "Seventh Heaven", a Reels-like jingle jive and the more lyrically worthwhile "Whose Turn To Cry" are unserious, undemanding and unfair for anyone who can't dance. They happily break up all the gravity and grief in the World.
Finally, as the ultimate statement of the band's versatility comes the almost L.A sound of "Waiting". Sounding more like that other big 'Little' band from Down-Under, Heroes show that West Coast sounds can be injected with electric energy and vocal rudeness without losing any of their suaveness and cool [Article by Robert Vella]

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Review 3
The Little Heroes' third album is a sophisticated development of the flippant pop with its boppy rhythms that has dominated their previous albums. Unfortunately the romantic and emotional potential of Watch The World is never fully realised by producer Rupert Hine. With his characteristically compressed production, he has managed to wash away the melodies in a flood of synthesizer overlays. And it is so evident that even even the most sparse moments are brimming with harsh, synthesizer hiss.
This is the first album from the current line-up of the Little Heroes and it's their most compatible and musically effective combination yet. Banished,blessedly, are their bopping rhythms. The new arrangements focus much more successfully on melodic layers than rhythms. There's some nice guitar melodies from Paul Bell and keyboard player Paul Brickhall (ex MEO245) has introduced some clean, emotive lines. Using Hine's own synthesizer and programs, the arrangements inevitably sound remarkably like Hine's own work. Baffling though is why the arrangements defy, if not outright ignore, the lyric line leaving the songs floundering somewhere between blatant pop and something more substantial.
The Little Heroes force has always been their more melancholy songs and the highlight of Watch The World is undoubtedly "Bon Voyage", the song that originally drew Rupert Hine to the band. They've kept it simple, relatively clean and it shines as the logical successor to their biggest hit "One Perfect Day"
Watch The World in overview, however, is an incompatible meeting of the wrong band with the wrong producer. In other hands, this could have been a nice pop album with some soaring moments. As it is, it comes close but in the end the copious window dressing tends to smother rather than enhance the good ideas [Article by Andrea Jones]

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Finally, below is a transcript of an article published in Juke Magazine (June 9, 1984) which talks about the band's decision to split.
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'Little Heroes Split'
The Roger Hart-Paul Brickhall song writing team will stay together, but The Little Heroes have decided to split up The band's decision came as a shock. In an interview with Juke only a few months ago, on the eve of their going off the road to write and record the next album, the members indicated confidence that overseas recognition would take some time and suggested that they had the commitment to stick to it until then.
Certainly the news took EMI executives by surprise too. They had spent a small fortune getting English producer Rupert Hine to work on the Watch The World album and there was a strong indication Hine would also work on their next LP. The band also did well supporting Duran Duran on their Australian tour last year.
 
The Little Heroes were a band much praised by the Australian rock press but ended up having only a minor hit with "One Perfect Day" which momentarily widened their loyal cult following. [article by Jillian Hughes and Robbie Coates]
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'Post Heroes'
* Roger Hart/Roger Wells went on to become an author and meditation trainer. His books on meditation are: Happy to Burn (Lothian 1997) and Love & Imagination. More recently his first novel, Levin's God was published by Fremantle Arts Centre Press (2004).
* John Taylor became a filmmaker and graphics designer, winning an AFI award in 1986.
* Paul Brickhill went on to head the Music Department at the Australian Ballet School.
* David Crosbie was the Chief Executive of Melbourne's Odyssey House, the largest drug and alcohol treatment centre in Victoria and is on the National Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs. He is now the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Council of Australia.
* Alan 'Clutch' Robertson worked for Warner Music for sixteen years in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore, after which he established Alan Robertson Management, representing bands such as Magic Dirt and TaxiRide.
* Martin Fisher became a Crown Prosecutor in the Northern Territory and played keyboards in popular Darwin band The Fabulous Baker Brothers [extract from Little Heroes Facebook Page]
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This post consists of an MP3 rip (320kps) taken from my Vinyl copy of this album. Full album artwork is included for both vinyl and CD. Note that EMI released both ‘Play The Numbers’ and ‘Watching The World’ albums on a CD twin pack in the 90s but it’s been a while since they’ve been available to buy new. I would also like to acknowledge the use of photos included in this post which were taken from the Littel Heroes Facebook Page, for which I am most grateful.
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Track List
01 - Watch The World
02 - Bon Voyage
03 - Modern Times
04 - Memories
05 - Seventh Heaven

06 - Painting Pictures
07 - Beating Drums
08 - Waiting
09 - Whose Turn To Cry
10 - Castles In The Air

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Band Members:

Roger Hart (Guitar/Lead Vocals)
Paul Brickhill (Keyboards/Vocals)
Anthony Tavasz (Bass/Synthesizer)

A. Paul Bell (Guitar/Vocals) 
Alan 'Clutch' Robertson (Drums/Percussion)
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Little Heroes Link (100Mb)
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rockets - On The Road Again (1977) + Bonus Track

(French 1972-Present)
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Put Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Devo and the more recent Blue Men in a swirly wind tunnel, sprinkle some Silver Paint and Disco Italo Vocorder space rock and you get..... LES ROCKETS!
.The Rocket's history starts in Paris (France), in the year 1972, when they were known under the name CRYSTAL. In 1974, they changed their name to ROCKET MEN (or ROCKETTERS) as five aliens, bald, with grey eyes, silver skin and space suits, recording the single 'Rocket Man' produced by Claude Lemoine, who would become their producer until 1983.
In 1975, they changed their name in ROCKETS and recorded a single 'Future woman'. In 1976, their first LP entitled, 'Rockets' was released in France, and the group launched a series of phantasmagoric live shows which involved vocoder, lasers, coloured lights, smoke and a bazooka fighting flames three.
The best formation (1977-1982) comprising vocalist Christian Le Bartz, bassist and vocalist "Little" GĂ©rard L'Her, guitarist and keyboardist Alain Maratrat, drummer and percussionist Alain Groetzinger, and keyboardist Fabrice Quagliotti have been through a number of name changes, being known as Rocket Men and Rok-Etz, among others.
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Dressed up in matching silver suits with shaved heads and silvery gray facepaint, they no doubt caused quite a scene in the French rock clubs of the day. Their otherworldly appearance and heavy use of synthesizers and vocoders suggested a strong Kraftwerk influence, but there was more to them than that: The very first track on their 1976 self-titled debut album, for example, was “Apache,” a funked-up version of a faux-Spaghetti Western rock instrumental recorded by a 1960 British skiffle band called The Shadows. They later covered Canned Heat too, on their 1977 LP 'On The Road Again' (1977), which was released in a large number of countries. The American release was on the Tom n'Jerry label. . Their influences ranged pretty far beyond Ziggy-era Bowie and Krautrock—although that was clearly all part of the mix, too.
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By 1979, Rockets had begun to enjoy some commercial success, at least in Europe, where their third album Plasteroid sold out in some countries almost as soon as it was released. By this time, they had developed more of a pop/New Wave sound and outfits that appeared to borrow rather flagrantly from Ace Frehley’s Spaceman look. But they had also perfected a highly entertaining live show that featured lots of robot dance moves and a scary, bazooka-like device with which lead singer Christian Le Bartz could shower the audience with sparks. Check the three-minute mark of this clip from an Italian TV appearance for a taste of the spark-bazooka; I’m pretty sure that even in Italy, they don’t let you get away with shit like that anymore.
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Rockets peaked, both commercially and creatively, with 1980's Galaxy, a brilliantly campy piece of space-rock/synth-pop with blacklight-ready cover art and high-concept songs about space travel and cyborgs and other bits of sci-fi geekery. It sold over a million copies worldwide, but the band began to unravel soon thereafter. By 1983, both lead singer Le Bartz and drummer Alain Groetzinger had quit the group, followed shortly by their longtime producer, Claude Lemoine, and their bassist, “Little” Gerard L’Her. With a new British lead singer, Sal Solo, the remnants of Rockets squeezed out two more albums, 1986's One Way and 1992's Another Future—the latter of which gamely tried to update the band’s sound with some Brit-rave beats, but without much success. By 1993, the band was effectively defunct.
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But nothing helps revive musical careers like a healthy dose of nostalgia—so you will not be surprised to learn that as of 2000, Fabrice decided to reform the band (initially with the name Rockets N.D.P.), but with a totally different line-up. This brought to an anomalous situation, as far as none of the former members agreed to hold a reunion. In fact, the last former member to leave the band was Alain Maratrat, in 1992. Rockets have resumed their existence, albeit in heavily watered-down form. The closest thing they still have to an original member is keyboardist Fabrice Quagliotti, who joined the group in 1977.
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My first experience of the Rockets was quiet by accident. While trying to locate the latest release by a band called Nova in my favourite Import Shop, I was browsing the racks of vinyl 'gems' when a familar song came blaring out from the shop's speaker system. What's this I hear? A cover of Canned Heat's "On The Road Again" but the style of music was like nothing I'd ever heard before. The vocals were being sung through a Vocoder (not a Talk Box by the way - aka Peter Frampton) and backed by a mirage of Synthesier and Drum Machine sounds that gave this rendition a full on 'spaced out' feel.  I asked the guy behind the counter who the band was and he showed me the album cover. I was sold on the spot and ditched my original purchase plan. I walk out of the shop with yet another 'great find'.
Having recently seen them perform on stage thanks to YouTube, it is obvious that their stage show would have been something 'out of this world' to see with their barage of laser / light effects and use of sci-fi stage props.
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Review (by Alan Bodwick)
Shave your head and paint yourself silver -  this halloween go as a member of late 70s French analog spacemen band Rockets. While you're at it pop this album into your system and be transported back to the futurepast of cosmic space analog world . You will be pleasantly suprised at the quality of this admittedly disposable and somewhat dated robo space pop- a mix of thick warm analog synth vocoder pop tunes including a great cover of "on the road again".  Yes that song that plays on every classic rock station.
More effective though are the Tangerine Dream inspired songs like "Cosmic Race" and "Astrolights" - hinting at some leftover French progressive music from a few years before and not afraid to include some funk grooves and chops! Much better then any Daft Punk AIR or any other atempted retro vocoder electronic acts of the last decade by a longshot! And I say this as a pretty big AIR fan. Please  check out their hilarious videos on youtube (original promo clip for  On The Road Again is also included in this post) and snatch this up as its become very rare despite the fact they sold millions of records in Europe in the late 70s and early 80s. In the end this is a likable record that occassionaly has moments of funky sublime brilliance and delivers with its dreamy moogs arps and catchy electronic grooves!
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12" Single

This post consists of a MP3 rip (320kps) taken from my vinyl copy and includes full album artwork. As a bonus, I have chosen to include a 'live' version of "On The Road Again" taken from a CD Discography that was released in 2003 - a very different version to the original album release.  In addition, I have also included a flash video of this track which was used as the promo for the single. The single was released both in as a 7" and 12 " format. I think you will really like this album as it is quiet unique, if not just for their brilliant Canned Heat cover.
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Track Listing
01 - On The Road Again   8:50    
02 - Cosmic Race     4:15    
03 - Venus Rapsody     4:18    
04 - Space Rock     4:00    
05 - Astrolights     6:10    
06 - Electro-Voice     2:48    
07 - Sci Fi Boogie     4:40

08 - On The Road Again (Bonus Live) 5:57
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Band Members:
Vocals – Christian Le Bartz, Gerard L'Her
Bass – Gerard L'Her
Guitar – Alain Maratrat
Keyboards – Alain Maratrat, Fabrice Quagliotti
Percussion, Drums – Alain Groetzinger

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The Rockets Link (122Mb) New Link 23/09/2013
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Russell Morris - A Thousand Suns (1991) + Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1966-Present)
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Russell Morris has been an icon of the Australian music industry since the 1960s. His classic hits include 'The Real Thing', 'Sweet, Sweet Love', 'Rachael', 'Part Three Into Paper Walls', 'The Girl That I Love' and 'Wings Of An Eagle'. During his solo career, Morris had done limited live performances without a band of his own. He then formed the Russell Morris Band and threw himself into a busy round of live performances, writing songs designed to be played live rather than chasing radio airplay, but scoring a couple of minor hits on the way. Eventually, the band played and recorded as Russell Morris & the Rubes.

In 1991, Morris released another solo album, 'A Thousand Suns'. Talking about the title track A Thousand Suns in a recent interview  Russell says that he figured people who heard this song probably  didn't really understand what it was about. "I wrote it after I read One Crowded Hour about the war photographer Neil Davis" says Morris. "I always liked the pictures the lyrics painted." 
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A Thousand Suns Single Release
There is a lot of information about Russell on various sites about his early career, but not much about what Russell has been doing in later years, particularly since he released this featured album.
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1992 ---- Morris played the part of Riff Raff in the new Rocky Horror Show
2000 ---- Played Simon Zealotes in the new Jesus Christ Superstar
2000 ---- Jim Keays of the Masters Apprentices replaced Ronnie Burns, forming the new group Cotton, Keays & Morris
2001 ---- The Real Thing and Wings of an Eagle were included in the soundtrack of the Australian film "The Dish"
2001 ---- Named in APRA's Top 20 "All Time Australian Greats"
2002 ---- Russell took part in the "Gimme Ted" benefit concert
2003 ---- Russell took part in the "Long Way to the Top" extravaganza
2005 ---- Russell was part of the Hard Road concert with Stevie Wright (EasyBeats)
2005 ---- Morris was inducted into the ASA Hall of Fame, with Ian 'Molly' Meldrum providing the induction speech.
2006 ---- Joined John Schumann & the Vagabond Crew with the Lawson Project
2006 ---- Singing with the Stars - Concert Series.
2007 ---- Lobby Lloyd’s Benefit Concert
2007 ---- Russell Morris & Brian Cadd "Unplugged". Two incredible nights performing with the Queensland Conservatorium students.
2007 ---- Wings of an Eagle included in the film of "The December Boys"
2007 ---- Concert for Max - Benefit concert for music legend Max Merritt.
2008 ---- Entertained the troops employed on Operation ANODE in the Solomon Islands.
2011 ---- Inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.
2011 ---- Brian Cadd & Russell Morris release a Country & Western album "Wild Bulls & Horses" - - - 2012 ---- Russell presented with Support Act's Excellence in Community Support Award.
2012 ---- Russell organised and played a memorial concert at the Palais Theatre in St.Kilda, Melbourne for Darryl Cotton (Concert for DAZ - A celebration of the life of Darryl)
2012 ---- New Russell Morris blues album "Sharkmouth" official release Friday October 12
The project was created after Russell had read about a 1920's Gangster from Sydney, Shark Jaws. This was the driving force behind a desire to create an album including Australian characters from the 1920/30's era..mostly whom were gangsters!
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This post consists of MP3 rips (320kps) taken from both CD and Vinyl.  The album was taken from CD and includes full album artwork. The two bonus tracks "Stay With You" / "Turn To Stone" were taken from a 45 released in 1983, with a very different version of "Stay With You" to that released in 1991. In addition, the track "This Bird Has Flown (demo version)" is also included and was only released with the CD single "A Thousand Suns" (sourced from Deutros with thanks. See single artwork above)
Overall, this is a strong album with every track having its own merit. The highlights for me are certainly the title track, his earlier single "Stay With You" and of course the 1990 remixed version of "The Real Thing".
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Track Listing
01 - A Thousand Suns    
02 - Tartan Lines    
03 - Stay With You    
04 - Child Inside    
05 - New Dawn    
06 - Jungle At Night    
07 - Between The Waves    
08 - The Bigger They Come    
09 - Steal Away    
10 - Over Excited    
11 - The Real Thing (1990 Mix)
Bonus Tracks
12 - I'll Stay With You (A-Side Single)
13 - Turn To Stone (B-Side Single)
14 - This Bird Has Flown (demo version)

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Band Members:
Russell Morris (Guitar, Vocals)
Chong Lim (Keyboards)
Graham Thompson, Ian Belton, Jim Landers (Bass)
Mark Punch, Mark Moffatt,Ben Butler & Rex Goh (Guitar)
Ricky Fataar (Drums, Percussion)
Andrew Thompson (saxaphone)
Venetta Fields, Mark Williams, Mark Punch,
Shauna Jensen, Kevin bennett & Taya Francis
(Backing Vocals)

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Russell Morris MP3 Link (146Mb) New Link 21/12/2016

Russell Morris FLACs Link (425Mb) New Link 22/10/2015
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Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Babys - Anthology (1981) Expanded Version

(U.K 1975-1981)
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The Babys were a British rock group in the late 1970s. The Babys were able to chart 6 albums between 1976 and 1981 through Chrysalis Records. Their highest charting singles were "Isn't it Time" and "Everytime I Think of You", both of which reached #13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The 1976-1978 Babys line-up consisted of vocalist/bassist John Waite, drummer Tony Brock, Keyboard player/guitarist Michael Corby, and guitarist Wally Stocker. From 1979-1981, the Babys line-up consisted of vocalist Waite, drummer Brock, bassist Ricky Phillips, guitarist Stocker and keyboardist Jonathan Cain.


Origin
There are two stories regarding the origin of the band and the source of the band's name.

Founding member Mike Corby places the origin of the idea for the band at Smalls Cafe on the Fulham Road in London in 1973 during a chance meeting with manager the late Adrian Millar. An agreement was signed between Corby and Millar on September 4, 1974 and auditions were held to fill out the remaining members. The names "Cry Babys" and "Big Babys" were also proposed with Millar ultimately deciding on "The Babys."

In a 1979 Hit Parader magazine interview, Waite stated, The name was meant to be a joke. We took the name simply because the record companies wouldn't listen to any bands they thought were rock & roll. I mean, they wanted sure-fire teen bands, pre-teen bands. We couldn't get anybody down to hear us to get a record deal, so we called ourselves The Babys. We thought we'd keep the name just for two weeks. Then, the word got around in London that there was a band playing rock & roll called The Babys and it seemed so off the wall, so completely crazy, that it was worth taking a shot with. It really appealed to everyone's sense of humour.

Chrysalis Records finally signed the band in 1976, and they released their selftitled debut album.


Career
The Babys eponymous first album (highlighted by the single "If You've Got The Time") was recorded in Toronto, Canada with producers Brian Christian and Bob Ezrin and released in January 1977, although it appears that Millar and Corby were unhappy with the production.

Some critics felt the teen-friendly packaging on their second album Broken Heart may have affected the group's appeal to wider audiences, although it is claimed that it was part of an experiment by Corby with group members looking like characters from the film A Clockwork Orange. As far as record sales were concerned the Babys seemed to live in the shadow of other Chrysalis artists Blondie, Pat Benatar and Leo Sayer. The Babys second album, Broken Heart, (released in September 1977) produced a top 20 U.S. hit "Isn't it Time" written by Jack Conrad and Ray Kennedy, which peaked at #13 on the Billboard chart. They continued to tour the U.S. successfully with the Babettes who included singers from Andrae Crouch and the Disciples: Lisa Freeman Roberts, Myrna Matthews and Pat Henderson. The album spent two weeks at number one in Australia but did not produce another top 40 single.

Disputes with Chrysalis management resulted in the firing of original manager Millar in 1978. Corby was also sacked by Chrysalis in August 1978 and a  replacement was sought. The company brought in two musicians to replace the co-founder: Jonathan Cain on keyboards and Ricky Phillips to play bass. From 1979 until the final breakup in 1981 the Babys line-up consisted of vocalist Waite, drummer Brock, bassist Phillips, guitarist Stocker and keyboardist Cain.



The Bands Demise
During a performance in Cincinnati on 9 December 1980 (the day after John Lennon had been murdered), John Waite was pulled from the stage by an overzealous fan during an encore and seriously injured his knee. Following a subsequent final performance by the group in Akron, Ohio, the remainder of the tour was cancelled, and the group disbanded following the tour. Although different members of the group have given various reasons for the band's demise, the general issue seems to have been disillusionment that the group never really achieved the success they felt they deserved given the quality of their albums and live shows. Waite later mused, "We were better than people thought we were."  [extract from LyricsFreak.com]

Recording the Dinah Shore Show at CBS Television City in LA (May 6th 1977)

After The Babys
John Waite, Ricky Phillips and Jonathan Cain later played together in the hard rock/glam rock-infused supergroup Bad English. By this time, Cain had already gone on to enjoy great success with Journey. Tony Brock spent many years drumming for Rod Stewart, as well as drumming and co-producing for Jimmy Barnes and producing for Keith Urban. Wally Stocker went on to play guitar for Rod Stewart and Air Supply, as well as a reformed version of Humble Pie in the 1990s. Wally Stocker and Tony Brock have not worked with John Waite since the breakup and there have been no rumors of any kind of reunion for the 1979 lineup. And given the persistent acrimony surrounding Corby's departure from the group, there is also little chance of the original 1976 lineup ever getting together again. [extract rom wikipedia]

Babys In Australia
(extract from the article 'Songs That Make The Back Of Your Neck Feel Dirty' - Sydney Morning Herald, 16th January, 1986)

Hits don't necessarily have to be about the beach, surfing or sunshine. But they do have to pour out of every car radio cruising along every highway and out of every transistor-on-a-towei at every beach for a full three months. Listeners never forget them, songwriters spend their life trying to create them and record companies often couldn't survive without them.
They are Summer Hits, perfect pop songs which seem to capture the imagination of all those between 12 and 40 who shed their outer skin and frolic outdoors between spring and autumn. Summer Hits are the soundtracks to first romances, unforgettable holidays and just goofin' about with friends.
Early in 1980 I was standing sidestage with the promoter of a huge Sydney outdoor concert. The road crew was changing over gear on stage and the sweltering crowd was being treated to a random selection of taped music. Suddenly the restless horde came to life and began singing along, loudly and enthusiastically, with a moderate hit by an American band called the Babys. The song, "Isn't It Time?", struck an incredibly responsive chord with every one of those young bronzed Aussies, who were leaping up and down screaming out the lyrics. The promoter, there and then, decided to book the Babys for a concert tour and would have proceeded, had not they disbanded before it could come to pass. Certainly, most of that audience wouldn't have had a clue who was performing the song but you can be sure that, to this day, they probably remember every word of it.
When the lyrics of a pop hit connect with the collective mood of its audience, a bona fide 'standard' is born.
This was the case with "Isn't It Time"

It is interesting to note that the LP release of their Anthology album had 14 tracks squeezed onto its vinyl, whereas the first CD release only had 10 of these tracks.  I'm not sure what Chrysalis were thinking when they decided to water down the CD as it was far from being an Anthology. A later release of the CD returned the collection back to its original state, however, there were still some crucial tracks missing in my opinion.
Therefore, I have chosen to fill these gaps by including the following bonus tracks:  "If You Can See My Fly" (from Broken Heart), "Run To Mexico" (from Head First) and both "Looking For Love" and "Dying Man" from their debut album.
Also note that I have previously posted a Babys Bootleg called 'Spoilt Brats' which is also worth listening to.
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from vinyl and CD, and as usual full album artwork for both LP and CD. There are also a stack of photos, sourced from Michael Corby's Myspace Page with thanks.

Late Appendum:  If you're interested in hearing an indepth interview with John Waite, talking about his musical influences and career over the past 35 years, then have a listen to transplantedaussie's podcast on his ichatwith website.  For more information about John Waite, you might like to visit some of  the following sites:  John Waite's Official WebsiteJohn Waite's European Website  and his Myspace Page

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Track Listing
01 - Head First

02 - Isn't It Time
03 - Midnight Rendezvous
04 - Money (Previously Unreleased)

05 - Back On My Feet Again
06 - I'm Falling
07 - Broken Heart
08 - Give Me Your Love
09 - Turn And Walk Away
10 - Everytime I Think Of You
11 - If You've Got The Time
12 - Sweet 17
13 - Union Jack
14 - Love Don't Prove I'm Right
(Bonus Tracks)
15 - If You Can See My Fly

16 - Run To Mexico
17 - Looking For Love

18 - Dying Man 
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The Babys were:
John Waite (Lead Vocals, Bass)
Michael Corby (Ryhthm Guitar, Keyborads)
Wally Stocker (Lead Guitar)
Tony Brock (Drums, Vocals)
Jonathan Cain (Keyboards 1979-81)
Rick Phillips (Bass  1979-81)
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The Babys Link (161Mb)  New Link 08/10/2013
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Saturday, February 2, 2013

John Paul Young - All The Best (1977) plus extras

(Australian 1972 - Present)
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In 1972, John Paul Young put his fishing trips and his job at Clyde Engineering on hold because his single “Pasadena” was a massive hit.

Working in the company of the Vanda and Young team, John (JPY) became one of the biggest Australian stars of the 70’s and his career has progressed through the 80’s, 90’s and into the 21 Century.

There’s not much of John’s career that hasn’t already been documented: a string of hits spawned over 4 million record sales, a couple of King of Pop awards (The ARIA of their day), a Logie and a bunch of radio and TV awards from around the country and overseas.

JPY or 'Squeak'
When John released his fourth single, Jesus Christ Superstar had ended and Harry Vanda and George Young had returned to Australia as house songwriters and producers for Albert Production. The song they now wrote and produced for John Young was "Yesterday’s Hero", about someone who had once been famous. He performed the song on Countdown and by the time filming was finished he had convinced the audience he really was a star! "Yesterday’s Hero" was initially released as John Young, but became such a major hit, the singer became John Paul Young to avoid confusion with Sixties pop star, Johnny Young.

John Paul Young went on to became a Countdown regular, both as guest and performer, his easy going boyish personality making him a favourite with fans.  It was Countdown's compare Molly Meldrum who first introduced John as 'Squeak' and the name simply stuck.


JPY On Countdown

Squeak and Molly On Countdown









More major hits followed – namely "The Love Game", "I Hate The Music", "I Wanna Do It With You", "Standing In The Rain" (all Top 10 hits) and his June 1978 No. 1 song, "Love Is In The Air", also a huge hit internationally, leading to television performances on Britain’s ‘Top Of The Pops’ and in the US.

For his live performances John Paul Young gathered The Allstar Band, boasting some of the finest musicians in the land, testament to John’s standing with his contemporaries. Warren Morgan (Chain, Aztecs) and Ronnie Peel (La De Das) are The Allstar Band’s longest-serving members who together with Greg Plimmer, Juan Gonzalez and Michael Walker still make up the band today.



JPY’s music certainly was the soundtrack to the “Countdown” generation, and in 1992 a whole new generation fell in love with his music with a remixed version of "Love is in the Air" from the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom becoming a hit all over again.

JPY’s ability to vary from a light pop to an edgy rock pop voice and his sparkling personality gave a particular stamp to a special type of Australian pop – one that found hits throughout Europe and South Africa. As a performer John was hard to beat, and remains so. There are few people who enjoy playing music as much and who give the audience their all.

JPY Today
After featuring in the TV Series “Long Way To The Top” John and The Allstar Band climbed aboard for the 2002 National Tour of the same name in the company of the cream of Australian talent to celebrate the music and its Stars of the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s.

In 2003 and in 2005 “Leader of the Pack – The Ellie Greenwich Musical” has seen John beatin’ the boards in the character of fast talking record producer Gus Sharkey - a composite character based around the legendary team of Leiber & Stoller and later Phil Spector with whom Ellie worked and spawned massive worldwide hits with: Be my Baby and Baby I love You, Da Doo Ron Ron and Then He Kissed Me, Doo Wah Diddy and I Can Hear Music, River Deep, Mountain High and the title of the musical Leader of the Pack. This is John’s first musical since his roll in “Jesus Christ Superstar” and he’s relished the part in both the Sydney & Melbourne seasons.

He had an 18 months stint with the Popstars TV series; a return to the racing track in the 2005 Celebrity Race at the Melbourne F1 GP - another credible finish from a start back in the field - and in between, recording with his long time friend, producer and songwriter Harry Vanda, for the future album.




In 2006, JPY performed in the first Countdown Spectacular. This event was a reunion concert for many of the popular Aussie acts that had performed on Countdown over the years and it toured Australia over August-September of 2006. JPY was honored by being the first artist to open the show performing his hit single "Yesterday's Hero" and captured the theme of the event perfectly.

Three decades, two centuries and two millennium later - who’d have thought a little song like “Pasadena” could launch a career to last that time [extract fron John's website   and  Albert Records Website ]

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This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my vinyl LP and includes full album artwork. I have chosen to include 3 bonus tracks to complete this collection.  "You Drive Me Crazy" was JPY's second single (1973) and is a bit of a rarity as it did not appear on any of his albums.  "St.Louis" was the B-Side of "The Love Game" (1975) but could have easily been an A-Side single in my opinion.
Although "Love Is In The Air" was released in 1978 (one year after this compilation was released), it needs to be included as it was the song that relaunched his career many years later when it was used in the highly successful movie 'Strictly Ballroom', reaching #3 in the Australian Charts.
JPY or Squeak was a wonderful ambassador and mentor for many of the 'new young' Australian musicians who appeared in the late 70's - early 80's and is still highly regarded in the music industry today. This post is a tribute to the legacy that JPY has provided Aussie Rock over the years.
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Track Listing
01 - Yesterday's hero
02 - The painting
03 - The love game
04 - Birmingham
05 - I wanna do it with you
06 - Standing in the rain
07 - I hate the music
08 - Pasadena
09 - Where the action is
10 - Here we go
11 - Keep on smilin'
12 - Gay time rock n' roll city

Bonus Tracks
13 - You Drive Me Crazy (A-Side Single 1973)
14 - St.Louis (B-Side Single 1975)
15 - Love Is In The Air (A-Side Single 1978)

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Musicians
Vocals - John Paul Young
Guitar - Harry Vanda, Ian Winter, Phil Manning, Ronnie Peel
Bass - George Young, Ronnie Peel, Dallas McDermott
Keyboards - George Young, Pig Morgan
Drums - George Young, John Proud, Johhny Dick, Spike Nimble
Saxaphone - Tony Buchanan
Backing Vocals - Vanda & Young

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JPY Link  (126Mb)  New Link 30/05/2015
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